Announcing Victress Capital Fund I, a Women-Led VC Fund Focused on Investing in Early-Stage Consumer Startups with Gender Diverse Teams

Visible Ventures
Visible Ventures
Published in
4 min readJul 7, 2020

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We are Victress Capital. We are consumer focused. We are diversity driven. As operators and investors, we came together to tackle the longstanding and ongoing funding challenges women leaders face when starting companies. And we are excited and proud to share that with the support of many amazing investors, we have closed on our first institutional fund, an oversubscribed $21.7M fund, to do just that.

Victress was formed in 2015 out of a shared passion for addressing the female funding gap and changing the way future generations experience the world. Having built successful careers as investors and operators, Victress Managing Partners Lori Cashman and Suzanne Norris were shocked that women-led companies receive only 2% of the capital invested into startups each year. Understanding that companies with gender-diverse leadership teams outperform those that are homogenous, they saw a massively underserved market opportunity and believed that with their deep domain expertise, they were well positioned to provide the access to networks and capital that women leaders were missing as they built and scaled their businesses.

Getting to where we are today has been a journey. And as we all know, not all journeys are easy. But throughout, we have been fueled by the values we established when we started the firm — integrity, humility, inclusiveness, teamwork and humor. We are grateful for the support we have received from the women and men who, by joining us as investors, believed in our mission, and believed that we had the strategy, team and backgrounds to find and support women-led early-stage consumer companies at a time when capital is most critical to their success. These diversity-committed investors include individuals from some of the top private equity firms, law firms, universities, and technology companies along with family offices and many of the founders we have backed.

We accomplished a lot over the past five years. We met with over 1,500 women-led companies in the consumer space. We made 14 seed investments out of our launch fund, including Daily Harvest, The Nue Co., Au Rate, Copper Cow Coffee, and Mented. We built our sourcing network, honed our strategy, grew our team, expanded our networks and laid the groundwork for a larger Fund I.

We kicked off fundraising for Fund I in late 2018 with a target fund size of $20M. With the support of individuals from the private equity community who joined us as early investors, we made seven new investments out of the fund while we were fundraising, including category defining companies like Alyce, Rae Wellness, Summersalt and WaitWhat. And today we closed the fund at $21.7M. We are excited to now put this capital to work to continue backing bold and diverse teams led by women in the consumer space.

Within consumer, we focus on three sectors — technology enabled brands, services and marketplaces. We look for capital efficient companies with strong business models, attractive unit economics, early revenue traction, a path to profitability and a commitment to building diverse teams. We typically invest between $250–750K in seed rounds, $1M+ in Series A rounds, and are comfortable with a wide variety of deal structures. Once we invest, we support our portfolio companies across multiple areas including team building, financial modeling, market positioning and customer acquisition strategies, strategic planning and operational assistance. Most importantly, we help our companies with fundraising to position them for a successful Series A and beyond.

While awareness of the funding gap has grown since our first investment five years ago, unfortunately, there has been little progress made in the amount of capital going to women-led companies and funds. There is so much more work to be done in this space. There are currently over 1,300 venture capital firms in the United States with the total of $444B capital under management. Less than 20 of these funds focus on investing in women-led companies with total capital under management of less than $500M. And the data for funds focused on broader diversity is not any better. We look forward to working with our peers in the industry to drive real change.

There are many people who played a role in helping us get to where we are today, but the two groups that deserve the most thanks are the amazing founders we have been honored to back to date and the LPs who supported us by investing in Fund I. They are our heros.

We are Victress Capital. We stand on the shoulders of our investors so that we can stand beside our founders. Our investors align with the vision of equity and the belief that actions speak louder than words. That change often starts by putting capital in the hands of others knowing that there will be a multiplier effect with that seed investment. That turning founders into funders offers the next generation more opportunities without barriers due to gender, race, or background. We are not just a part of this conversation, we are committed to creating solutions that end it.

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Visible Ventures
Visible Ventures

Visible invests in bold, diverse teams that build superior consumer experiences and the technologies that power them.